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An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Discontinued Use of the E-Cigarette

  • Camille Alexis-Garsee (a1), Stephanie Meehan (a1) and Olga van den Akker (a1)


Introduction: Many UK smokers use e-cigarettes as a quitting aid; however, a substantial number discontinue use of the e-cigarette and revert to smoking. Understanding why this may happen is important both for individuals and for stop smoking services.

Aims: To explore young adult smokers’ experiences of use and discontinued use of the e-cigarette.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six participants who tried e-cigarettes for at least seven days and returned to smoking. Data was transcribed and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results: Findings suggested participants held conflicting attitudes about using e-cigarettes, which undermined attempts to quit smoking, and led to the discontinuation of the e-cigarette. These conflicts centred on participants’ discomfort with the e-cigarette or vaping identity, lack of abstinence self-efficacy and navigation of barriers to e-cigarette use. The complex interplay of these factors may have led to an underestimation of the individual effort required to continue vaping and reinforced participants’ perception of the e-cigarette as an inferior product to the cigarette.

Conclusions: Future research should focus on the role of identity, self-efficacy, control and smokers’ expectations of e-cigarettes on smoking cessation as these may be important factors to consider for a more tailored service for e-cigarette users.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Camille Alexis-Garsee, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Middlesex University, School of Science and Technology, The Burroughs, Hendon, London NW4 4BT, UK. Email:


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An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Discontinued Use of the E-Cigarette

  • Camille Alexis-Garsee (a1), Stephanie Meehan (a1) and Olga van den Akker (a1)


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